Felix “Agre” Sebusa, a practical miner of Mainit

DEC 2-8, 2010


The headwaters of Manat River within the territories of Barangays Mainit and Bukal, Nabunturan have long been known to be having gold sands and nuggets on stream during the heyday of placer mining in the 70s. Sooner after the gold rush of Diwalwal towards the mid 80s, hardrock gold tunneling came up to the northern mountains of Saraban and Inupuan within the Mainit-Bukal areas, and these two mining sites continue to live up producing gold until these days.
It was not during the episode of placer mining- where free gold is trapped from running waters using sacks and screen- but during the era of underground tunneling that Felix “Agre” Sebusa arrived in Barangay Mainit to hunt opportunity for his destiny. In 1987 from Bohol he arrived to work as labor in the minahan. He was still single.
“I and my companions were planning to work in Diwalwal but we decided to just mine here, contented over the small production of gold for sustenance,” he said in vernacular. He was not at all attracted by Diwalwal’s golden opportunities for lucky miners to become instant multi-millionaires while famed stories on high-grade miners circulated around towns and villages.
“Dire na lang ta kay mao ra man gihapon makabuhi sa ato (We’ll just mine here as we can have livelihood just the same),” Subusa recalled his conversation with friends to stick it out in Mainit.
He assessed that mining in Mainit-Bukal area is generally peaceful and is largely not characterized of wrestles of groups over tunnels.
So from 1987 he started eking a living as one of the hundreds of mine laborers, and about 20 years after he is now a tunnel operator having a gold processing planta of his own.
“Daghang mga dayuhan ang miabot dire ug nagrasyahan pod gumikan sa paningkamot (There are many migrants to this place who are also blessed by their industry),” he added. Later he got married, and raised his own family. His fate was fixed to no longer move out from Mainit as his livelihood was etched in small-scale mining and sooner he liked to live in the place.
To Sebusa, small scale mining has an “on and off” character- at times tunnels hit high grade ores making miners to go big, and at times gold ores can only manage to give sustenance and subsistence for the miners and their families. “Dili steady kay moawop pod ang bina”.
But he has but praises for gold mining, citing that not less than 80 percent of Mainit population is dependent on mining.
“Kung wala ang pamulawan kagutom ug kasamok ang naa. Unsa na kaha kung wala ang pamulawan? (Without mining, hunger and chaos will reign. What will happen if there’s no mining here?),” he said.
He said that one can see the mountains surrounding the place without corn fields. “True, there are fruit trees planted there but these are only in few patches. Titled lands are only owned by a few while the people at large are landless, so they have to mine clearly existing mineral resources in order to live,” he added.
He also said that mining processes and technology are already known by the people that even 10-year old children in the area know how to find means from mining during weekends to have baons during school days.
Sebusa said he is practicing ore sharing with manual laborer in his corpos. And as to his planta, “it’s OK as it has ECC (environmental clearance certificate) and other requirements imposed by the government”.
He said he is happy already when his planta would process ores “with assay” on gold content that could earn an income which can revolve funds for next production cycle, which means that it can pay for the food requirements in the new round of tunneling operations. (Rural Urban News/Cha Monforte)

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